Fermented Soy Sauce is the Authentic Kind
Non-Fermented is Not
The non-fermented and modern method of making soy sauce is through acid hydrolysis of the soybeans. This is a much faster process as it may only take days while fermented soy sauce takes at least 6 months. But it necessitates additional stabilizing and flavoring ingredients.
Advantage of Fermented Soy Sauce
It contains a wider variety of nutrient substances. Hydrolysis is too thorough of a process that the soybean protein is immediately decomposed into amino acids and very little of anything else beneficial remains. However, due to the kind of food fermented soy sauce is made from and the other compounds it may contain, I recommend it for moderate use only.
Rich Source of Protein, Vitamins & Minerals, and Gut Supporting Carbohydrates
Soy sauce contains an adequate amount of protein. This isn’t really unexpected given that the raw material of this sauce, soybeans, is a known abundant source of protein. One tablespoon of soy sauce can provide around 3 – 4 % of the body’s daily need. Besides this important class of nutrients, the sauce also provides Vitamin B3 and manganese. Fermentation breaks down the carbohydrate and protein compounds in soybean and wheat into smaller units. This relieves some of the work of the digestive system since such compounds in fermented soy sauce are more easily absorbed by the body. One particular type of carbohydrate sub-component called oligosaccharides, which promote the growth of good intestinal flora like lactic acid bacteria. They’re considered “good” bacteria because they maintain the chemical balance in the large intestine and aid in the further breakdown of nutrient substances in food.
Also, An Uncommon Source of Antioxidants
You’ve probably heard that red wine is a good source of antioxidants. Well, according to a National University of Singapore study,6 the dark-colored type of fermented soy sauce could actually have 10 times more antioxidant compounds than red wine. These come in the form of phenolic acids and, depending on how the soy sauce was filtered, isoflavonoids.
Varieties of Soy Sauce
Many countries in Asia have their own variations of fermented soy sauce. There is, for example, a Chinese variety called “dark mushroom soy” which is aged longer, contains molasses for sweetness and thickness, and has some mushroom broth added in the later stages of the processing. Then there is Japanese tamari, another variety that uses very little or even no wheat. This is why most tamari soy sauce is labeled “gluten-free”. On the opposite end is Nama Shoyu which is made mostly from wheat and has little soybean.
No sweat recipe of the week
Beef and Broccoli
- 1 lb Sirloin steak (grass-fed), sliced thin
- 1 lb Broccoli florets (approximately 1 head of broccoli)
- 2 tbsp of Coconut oil
- 2 cloves of Garlic, minced
- 1 tsp Tamari
- 1 tsp Dry sherry
- 2 Tbsp of Fish Sauce (I recommend the Red Boat brand)
- 1 ½ tsp dry sherry
- 1 ½ Tbsp Tamari
- 1/3 cup chicken broth (from pasture-raised chickens)
- (optional) 1 tsp flour
- In a large dish or Zip-top bag, combine the ingredients for the marinade
- Add the beef slices and mix in until coated
- Let sit for at least 10 minutes – the longer the better though!
- During, grab a small bowl, add all of the sauce ingredients and stir until blended. Set aside.
- Also During, in a saucepan, bring some lightly salted water to a boil. Add the broccoli and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and drain thoroughly.
- Next, in a large frying pan or wok over high heat, add the cooking oil and swirl to coat the pan. Add the beef, trying to create a single layer so that it cooks evenly and thoroughly. Let cook 1 minute.
- Flip beef slices, add the garlic to the pan, and fry for an additional 30 seconds or so until the beef no longer appears pink.
- Add in the sauce and the broccoli and bring to an aggressive simmer.
- (Optional step) Add in the flour* and cook until the sauce boils and begins to thicken (usually takes less than a minute!)